New York City has shed its pop-culture image as a dingy, dirty burg where all the streets have rats and all the apartments are full of cockroaches.
Still, it's hard not to snicker at the news that a new breed of cockroach has been discovered in Gotham:
And it was discovered by two high school students!
Like an episode from the popular television series, CSI: NY, two high school seniors sought to identify hundreds of specimens that they had collected throughout Manhattan. Their goal? To identify the species by analyzing at a small portion of their DNA using a technique known as "DNA barcoding." As a method for quickly identifying species, DNA barcoding has become increasingly more accepted within the previous six years.
The two "DNAHouse investigators" made a number surprising discoveries using DNA barcoding, including mislabeled food items, and -- most astonishing of all -- the discovery of a species of cockroach that is new to science. The insect, which looks like the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, a widespread pest in NYC and other large cities, turned out to have a different "DNA barcode" from that species.
They can't name the bug until further investigation confirms whether it's a new species or subspecies. Any suggestions?